Kharlovka? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Kharlovka?

12-04-2007, 07:12 AM
I'm wondering how the Kharlovka is fishing these days. When I first fished it back in 1992 the camp was just built. I was just one year after the first exploration was made by the British company Roxton Bailey Robertson. Christopher Robertson offered me a rod at $3000.00 USD for a prime week (June 28 - July 5). I was just one of SEVEN rods at the camp. The fishing was great, with many huge fish caught in both the Kharlovka and the Eastern Litza.

The following year, in 1993 I fished the Varzuga and Pana systems. Numbers of fish in the Varzuga were staggering to me, and 12 fish days were not abnormal. Yet the size of the fish were not impressive with most being in the 10 pound range. I then made reservations to go back to the Kharlovka in 1994....for approx $5,000 USD......a lot of money for even prime time.

But when I got there, there were now 12 rods scheduled to fish, five more than in 92. To complicate matters, the water was quite low that spring shrinking the fishable water down to half. I found myself sharing beats with three other rods instead of just one partner. In other words, they forced two groups of two rods to fish one "Reduced Beat". We wound up crossing lines because each group fished from the opposite banks. It was a mess......and at that time, I was quite upset that I paid so much money to compete for the sweet spots. I vowed never to return.

Now I see on the web that they have built a permanent lodge on the River, in what seems to be in addition to the camp. I wonder how many guys out there have fished this river recently and can share their experience as it relates to my point.....which is, "is the Kharlovka worth the money" and are their enough fishable beats on the river to support all the increased rods?

12-04-2007, 08:06 AM
Well, Howie . . . that prime time week now will cost you over $22,000 (after you get yourself to Stockholm). And from recent reports, the fishing remains excellent . . . even improving. I was there in 2002 and 2003, but it's far outside of my price range now. We fished all 4 rivers, including above 3rd waterfall on the Kharlovka (most likely, you only fished it up to 1st waterfall). I don't think the number of rods is a problem there's lots of water. Wonderful river, but I think the E Litza remains my favorite.

12-04-2007, 08:50 AM
Hi Bill,

You are correct. On the Kharlovka we did not fish above the set of canyons below the first falls. We didn't even know about any other falls. Expanding the fishable water must have helped the over crowding that I saw in 94. The Litza was also the favored river back then.

Regarding the $22K it costs today; I remember back in 1992, a guy from France claimed the Kharlovka/Litza were the best salmon rivers in the world, and the $3 cost was going to be adjusted quite quickly. Back then, it was more or less and exploratory out post. Jacque owned annual rights on a spectacular beat on the Alta in Norway. Back in 92, he gave predicted that the cost of the Karlovka/Litza system would rival his home water one day. I guess he was right. Too much for most of us guys.

12-04-2007, 09:23 AM
The present day prices WILL increase and these rivers WILL become the exclusive domain of very rich Russians. Venture and Bill you were very lucky to have fished thie area . Did you enjoy those helicopter rides ,as frightened passengers passed a bottle of gin around that later into the flight included passing the bottle to the pilot ? I have forgotten the name of the wizard pilotski whose signature ride started with ,attach seat belt please !!

12-04-2007, 04:29 PM
Thanks for reminding me of the helicopters. I remember them well. If I wasn't strapped in next to the fuel tanks, I was up in the cockpit flying co-pilot. That's true. They new I had a pilot's license so they wanted to let me fly. They took off and landed while I held the coarse and altitude. They were really a bunch of great guys. A few decades prior, we were locked in a "Cold War". Visiting Russia back then, a year or so after the USSR fell was a real eye opener for this American chap. And always the bottle was being passed around in the pit.....either in the copter or at camp.... What a great place it was. Nice to hear it still is.

Hmmm,,,,,only rich Russians you say? I didn't know any existed. Never saw a Russian fishing that river other than the occasional soldier soaking a worm on his day off. Usually that's going on down river near the army barracks. Never the less, Jacque Montupey predicted it in 1992, the first year the river was fished. He said this river and the Litza were the best salmon rivers in the world. He is perhaps correct.
Hopefully I'll get the chance to fish her again.

12-05-2007, 01:19 PM
I fished those rivers in 2006, as I have posted in the past. There is a web site that is easy to find if you put in the river name and google. It will explain the current lease agreement with the russian governmnet, and the salmon preserve they have formed. It is clearly not only for rich russians, but rich people who apply and find favor with Peter Powers, who holds the lease.

I would encourage anyone interested in tagging studies and research on salmon to look there as well.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

PS- will fish for 2 weeks on Kola in 2008 in early June- when the monsters arrive

12-06-2007, 05:55 AM
Hey Jim,

Which rivers on the Kola are you scheduled to fish in 2008? Which rivers did you fish in 06? How were the conditions on the river in 06?

12-07-2007, 01:30 PM
I will fish first 2 weeks of june 2008 on the Kola river and the lower beats of the Kitsa river ( which joins Kola on the lower end). I fished these rivers the same time in 2005, and 2006 ( wish I did this year). The average fish I caught was about 21 pounds at this time of year ( largest 35, smallest 12). The first week of june in 2006 I fished the lower beats of the Kharlovka and East Litza rivers.

The Kola rivers at that time of year are all swollen with high, cold colored water, and you need two handed rods, sink tip lines, and large tube flies. You need to be willing to suffer through extremes in temperature swings, from rain/sleet/snow to warm sun in an hour. This is what you do to chase the Big early atlantic salmon of the Kola Penninsula. The North shore of the Kola Penninsula has the legendary large fish, and your best shot is during this time. Every fish is huge. I had in one day 6 fish for 125 pounds, and some people had similar days. It is not unusual to hook and land in a session 3 fish over 25 pounds, and maybe lose one or two. I have lost on the Kola river fish in the 30-40 pound class to heavy, heavy, heavy rapids that simply are not possible to land a fish once they turn into it.

The Kola river is not wilderness fishing, it runs through small depressed villages prior to going onto Murmansk. Poachers are at some of the pools with easy access, but they do not do much harm. NO HELICOPTERS is a big advantage for some who are weary of that aspect of the Kola experience. The fishing is from boats and wading, very easy otherwise. The lodge is fantastic, private cabins, catered food, whirlpool/jacuzi, laundry, all the perks.

The Kharlovka/East Litza/ Zolota/Rynda rivers are very hard fishing conditions. It takes being in great shape to wade/walk/hike to the pools. This is a helicopter program that is well run, the lodge top tier as well. For me, the Kola river is easier, the results similar or better, and the price a little cheaper ( not cheap by any standard).

These companies are easily found on the web by googling the river name. I have become friendly with the gentleman from Iceland who books the Kola river at those times and have fished with him several times, this makes it a lot of fun since he is an outstanding fisherman.

If you go to Kola penninsula, fish for big fish. You can go to the Ponoi and other souther rivers and do well. You will likely not get any shot at a monster.

Yokanga is another northern river with big fish, I am trying to get in that river in 2009- report to follow.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

Mark Vegwert
12-11-2007, 10:07 AM
Can I ask what might be a stupid question? Why not fish these rivers upstream in 2-3 weeks (late June) when you can use a dry line and possibly dry flies? Do the big fish go stale that fast?

I go to the Ponoi for my first time this summer and am a complete rookie.

Thank you.

12-11-2007, 03:07 PM
You can fish some of the rivers up stream later in the year for fish that have been there a while. I prefer fresh fish, with sea lice if possible. The fight is better and the bright color and behavior of the fish is the best if you ask me. Fish that are just in the river often are " in a good mood", in other words are more likely to take a fly. The water temperature early in the year will be nice and cold so they fight hard and no worries about doing C&R.

Some people prefer going in the summer with easier conditions, but usually you are going for the grilse run, mixed with some older salmon. This may be a more predictable fishery in terms of numbers, but I am not interested in going all the way around the world to catch 80 fish, average size 6-8 pounds. I want big, bright, fresh, silver bullets. I am after the chance for a fish of a lifetime, in its prime.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

12-11-2007, 04:09 PM
After July 4, the Kharlovka gets grilse. Before that.....for the entire month of June, you can count on only salmon in the river. The first week of July is still pretty much void of grilse. But by the second clock work, the river is filled with them making fishing for a trophy that much tougher.

I do agree with Jim. I fished several other rivers on the Kola that were filled with smaller salmon. The Varzuga was one of them. No problem catching 6 - 12 fish per day. Only problem...all the fish are 8 - 11 pounds. A big one is 15 and a monster is 18. I think I caught around 50-60 fish that week....with the biggest perhaps 12.

Great for beginners. A 10 pound leaper will thrill a beginner to no end. But for those who want big fish will endure tough conditions, high and cold water and sinking tips with big flies. You won't catch huge numbers, but you will catch big fish.

12-11-2007, 07:04 PM
After July 4, the Kharlovka gets grilse. But by the second clock work, the river is filled with them making fishing for a trophy that much tougher.

I don't really seem to disagree. Although colored up, here's a 27 lb (I think) hen 1st week of August. That week, a friend from Ireland took the largest fish of the week 44 lbs on a size 10 fly waked in the surface. I think the smallest salmon I took that week was 12 or 14 lbs. I don't remember one grilse being caught.

12-13-2007, 04:07 PM
Hi Bill,

I never fished the Kharlovka after the first week of July but from what I heard while I was there was that the grilse are everywhere after the first week of July. I do remember that towards the end of the week, I started to hook the occasional grilse. This also happened the second year I fished there. My week started around June 30 and between June 30 and July 3 or 4, no grilse were caught.

This is not to say that you cannot catch salmon in July and August. But I assumed that the mounting number of grilse make it more difficult. Don't you hate swinging that fly over a beautiful lie and taking a 2 pound grilse.....and spooking the 30 pounder which probably would have taken the fly if the grilse were no so aggressive.

Hey, Happy Holidays to everyone here. Hope next year brings tight lines and screaming reels and good health and happiness to all....

01-11-2008, 11:42 AM
Jim, you will see an awful lot of familiar faces on Kola 1st week of June- Me, Trevor, Jamie, John, Pat, Robert and Howard from our week at Kharlovka 06 will all be there. I am going on to Kharlovka for the following week.

I have fished Kharlovka in June and August for the last three years and it is very unusual indeed not to catch grilse in August. I would estimate that just over half the fish on average would be fresh grilse first week in August, with plenty of fresh and coloured salmon too.

Cheers, Simon

01-17-2008, 01:45 PM
Sounds like we will be in for a great week of salmon fishing Simon, although every week of salmon fishing is great in it's own way. With the crew listed, there should be some action that week, plus you add in Arni and probably Sugii, and there will be some able bodied fishermen present. You have made me get to the vice and start making some tubes!

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

01-17-2008, 07:14 PM
I come to this site to read about my passion. It looks like I've been priced out of Russia, should have taken the trip years ago. But raising a family was the top priority then.

wrke; the posting of the your salmon reminds me of the large salmon I've taken during the fall run on the Cains River in NB Canada. Same colors and body type.
I would have sworn it was a Cains River fish.

One can only hope I live long enough to experience Russian fish.